Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Monday, October 3, 2016

No Brainer

I posted this photo question to my Facebook wall:

Most of the responses I got back were along the lines of "Of course!" or "No brainer!"

While these are admirable sentiments, my heart, thrills to read of this decision before it even has to be a reality, let me challenge the "no brainer" thoughts a moment.

Before stroke, we lived through over two decades of significant chronic illness, the deaths of three babies via miscarriage, a decade of infertility with all those tests and treatments and challenges and financial strain, seven serious adoption attempts that each ended in broken hearts, empty arms, and shattered dream, the loss of a brick and mortar livelihood business we planned to raise our family in as well as a few multilevel marketing attempts, and more

If you haven't watched this "American Idol" story, it's worth listening to the song, then spending a few minutes browsing YouTube for the brain injury story behind the song! The conquering-odds love would be a total tear-jerker if I was still capable of crying for emotional release.

Until stroke, when we truly faced with "no brain" (or at least several areas of my brain erased or massively damaged), each challenge, while difficult, ultimately drove us closer to one another. Some griefs more deeply threatened our resolve to stay together than others, but we NEEDED each other more than ever, because of the heartache. We were best friends and could not comprehend fighting the giants of this life without each other!
With stroke, EVERYTHING changed, mentally, emotionally, physically. After months and months of hours of daily yelling and screaming and hysterics on my part (direct result of brain injury), we were barely hanging on by a thread. We did not even like each other. Simply being in the same room together became tangibly painful. At the same time, several seemingly stable marriages of friends dissolved.

By God's grace, we are very slowly healing. I believe it will eventually be said that we grew closer through all this too, but we are coming through the storm battered and bruised, for sure!

So I guess my challenge is simply this. While it is commendable, God-honoring, delightful, to carry an "of course" conviction about the stability of your marriage and confidence in your commitment to make it work, don't take it for granted! Even you can be blindsided! Feed and nurture your marriage even more.

Don't look down on those who have separated or divorced - remember a marriage is comprised of TWO sinful people and they must BOTH be giving God the reigns to assure marriage survival. I know so many amazing folks who were willing to give marriage their all, even through the brutal seasons, but if their partner wasn't also willing to cherish and fight for the marriage, one commitment was not enough!

It was a good six months or more where the emotions were totally negative and the ONLY thing holding Rick and I together wasn't even the promises we had made each other, but the vows we had taken before God! I was the most irrational party, yet I am the one who asked Rick to leave!

I can remember one of the first out-of-town trips Rick took after my strokes, telling my counselor I felt I could actually breathe that week because the weight of stress of relationship was finally on hold for a few days. He's been gone on another trip this past week and I really miss him this time. That's healing!

Thank you for living out your promise, Rick, even (especially!) in the grit-your-teeth hard days. I am glad we made the choice to love even when the feelings were anything but lovely. It is also a joy to find the emotions healing and gradually returning as well! God is good, all the time.


  1. When we make those promises on our wedding day, we never envision the worst (like strokes) happening. We happily make them not fully realizing what the future can bring. I praise God for growing you and healing you through all this. May He continue to bring you close and raise you up even higher as you obey Him.

  2. I think our hubbies have their own form of PTSD to battle. God bless both of them. They are good men.